Human Services Block Grant
A Block Grant is a lump sum of federal government funds awarded to a state, county or city government for use in a general purpose.
The federal role in administering block grants is less active when compared to other types of grants. They generally do not specify application requirements, negotiate awards or evaluate the effects. Federally mandated fiscal, administrative and planning requirements are set to the lowest levels essential to meet the federal goals. The regional grantees are allowed to allocate the grant money at their discretion in accordance with local needs. This provides the regional governments with the flexibility to design programs and distribute resources that target a wide array of issues.
Act 80 of 2012 established a Human Services Block Grant Pilot Program for the purpose of allocating funds to select county governments to provide locally identified county-based human services to meet the service needs of county residents. This act originally allowed for 20 counties to participate, and then Act 55 of 2013 provided for 10 additional counties to participate, bringing the total to 30 counties. Act 153 of 2016 further amended the Human Services Code removing the cap on the number of counties that may be included in the Block Grant. This Act also removed the Child Welfare Special Grants funding beginning in fiscal year 2017-2018.
The line items within the Block Grant contain a small but significant portion of the total funds allocated to counties for the delivery of human services. The funds within the Human Services Block Grant include:
- Mental Health Community Based Funded Services (MH)
- Behavioral Health Services Initiative
- Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Community Based Funded Services (IDD)
- Child Welfare Special Grants (CYS) - Removed during FY 17-18
- Act 152 Drug and Alcohol Services (D&A)
- Homeless Assistance Program Funding
- Human Services Development Funds (HSDF)
Other significant sources of funding for county human services programs are not included in the Block Grant. Examples of funding not included in the Block Grant are Intellectual & Developmental Waiver Programs, Behavioral Health-Health Choices Program, Early Intervention Services and County Child Welfare Needs-Based funded services.
Franklin County first became involved with the Block Grant and submitted the first one for FY 12-13 as part of a Pilot allowing 20 counties to participate. Franklin County was one of the original counties to sign on for this new way of allocating funding for the delivery of Human Services.